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Knoxville Child Custody Lawyer

How is Child Custody Determined in Tennessee?

Father and daughter brushing their teeth

Under Tennessee law, all court orders for divorces, legal separations, annulments, or maintenance that involve a minor child(ren) must also contain a parenting plan that establishes the authority and responsibility of each parent regarding the child(ren).

Negotiating such a plan during an emotionally-charged divorce without the aid of a child custody lawyer in Knoxville, TN, can be difficult.

The child custody lawyers in Knoxville from Menefee & Brown know the process and requirements for temporary and permanent parenting plans under the Tennessee Domestic Relations Code.

We can help you work with the other parent to establish a plan consistent with Tennessee legal requirements and your goals and expectations.

If you are ultimately unable to reach such a plan, a child custody lawyer serving Knoxville can work with the court to secure an order in the best interests of your children.

Seeking attorneys for child custody in Knoxville TN? Contact us at (865) 351-2029 to learn more on how we can help you fight for your child best interests!

Do You Really Need A Lawyer For Child Custody In Tennessee?

We understand that Tennessee state laws can be complex with the way child custody is set up and arranging visitation will affect everything about your relationship with your child. A child custody attorney can answer questions and help you file for custody in Knoxville.

Can You Get Full Custody in Tennessee?

The Tennessee law no longer considers sole custody as existing as an effective legal term. Instead, a husband is automatically assumed to be the child(ren)'s father.

Generally, if the mother and father aren't married, full custody means the parent who maintains more time with the children and makes sole authoritative decisions.

How is Paternity Established

Establishing Paternity is done through a DNA genetic test.

Either both parties agree to the test, or in some cases, Tennessee Code Section 36-2-305 allows a judge to order a test. In addition, section 36-2-304 defines situations where a man is presumed to be a child's father.

Tennessee considers the father of a child if a baby is born while married or within 300 days of divorce.

If a man wants to establish Paternity or establish that he is not a child(ren)'s father, he can file a complaint to establish parentage.

The child and their mother can also file a complaint to establish parentage. The laws regarding paternity in Tennessee are pretty complex.

We advise you to consult lawyers experienced in paternity issues to ensure your rights are protected.

How Is Custody Determined in Tennessee?

In Tennessee divorce cases, custody arrangements are made based on the child’s best interest.

Under Tennessee law, courts require order a custody arrangement that permits both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible in the child’s life.

In deciding who the primary residential parent will be and what schedule is in the best interest of the child, Courts will consider the following factors:

  1. The strength, nature, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent, including whether one parent has performed the majority of parenting responsibilities relating to the daily needs of the child;
  2. Each parent’s or caregiver’s past and potential future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, consistent with the best interest of the child. In determining the willingness of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, the court shall consider the likelihood of each parent and caregiver honor and facilitate court-ordered parenting arrangements and rights, and the court shall further consider any history of either parent or any caregiver denying parenting time to either parent in violation of a court order;
  3. Refusal to attend a court-ordered parent education seminar may be considered by the court as a lack of reasonable faith effort in these proceedings;
  4. The disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education, and other necessary care;
  5. The degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver, defined as the parent who has taken the greater responsibility for performing parental responsibilities;
  6. The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child;
  7. The emotional needs and developmental level of the child;
  8. The moral, physical, mental, and emotional fitness of each parent as it relates to their ability to parent the child;
  9. The child’s interaction and interrelationships with siblings, other relatives, step-relatives, and mentors, as well as the child’s involvement with the child’s physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities;
  10. The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment;
  11. Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, the other parent, or any other person. The court shall, where appropriate, refer any issues of abuse to juvenile court for further proceedings;
  12. The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person’s interactions with the child;
  13. The child’s reasonable preference is twelve (12) years of age or older. The court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request. The preference of older children should usually be given greater weight than those of younger children;
  14. Each parent’s employment schedule and the court may make accommodations consistent with those schedules; and
  15. Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.

What is Considered an Unfit Parent in Tennessee?

Even if you are a good person and parent, unfortunately, some things can happen to make you "unfit" in the eyes of the court.

Here are a few issues to avoid when trying to get custody:

  • If you are under arrest, you will most likely be seen as "unfit" to be the child's primary parent.
  • If you happen to disobey any temporary or permanent orders the court gives.
  • Be communicative with your spouse, as refusing to do this can label you as "unfit."
  • Be careful with social media, don't post anything inappropriate.

Ongoing Custody Issues: Seeking a Modification

Even after your divorce, issues involving child custody may still arise. In addition, a change in circumstances could necessitate a modification of the parenting plan.

An unanticipated situation may cause a dispute over what the parenting plan requires, or perhaps the other parent is failing to honor their obligations.

These issues require swift action to preserve your rights and safeguard the well-being of your children.

Get Help From a Seasoned Custody Lawyer in Knoxville, TN

At Menefee & Brown, any family lawyer from our family law firm always puts our client's needs first. We understand the sensitive nature of child custody disputes. That is why our lawyers remain responsive to the needs of our clients and make it our priority to address their concerns promptly. In addition, we use our combined 30 years of experience in the practice of law to help our clients construct parenting plans that are in their best interest and the best interest of their children.

Our child custody lawyers located in Knoxville can give you peace of mind by taking action to resolve issues or secure compliance from an uncooperative parent promptly. At Menefee & Brown, we understand the panic and fear that child custody issues instill in parents.

Our lawyers strive to foster a supportive environment for our clients, thoroughly explaining the situation and keeping each client apprised of the latest developments in their case.

Don't fight child custody alone, let us at Menefee & Brown, P.C. fight for the best interests of your child. Contact us today at (865) 351-2029 or online!

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